Colbert Welcomes Hudson Bay Humpback With Whale Version of ‘New York, New York’ (Video)

Humpbacks are of course known for their songs

Last Updated: December 10, 2020 @ 6:23 AM

One of the more fun stories from this otherwise horrendously stressful week was the incredibly cool sighting of a humpback whale in New York harbor, right by the Statue of Liberty. And on Wednesday, Stephen Colbert welcomed the whale to the city with a very whale-centric cover of “New York, New York.”

We assume you saw it, but just in case, on Monday Twitter user Andres Javier captured video of the whale swimming around the in the harbor. And on Tuesday, even more spectacular photos of the whale swimming around in front of the Statue of Liberty were taken. Thanks, whale, for giving us something to think about other than a slow-motion electoral horror.

Now, as you likely know, humpback whales are known for the long, complex vocalizations called “songs” that not only are widely shared among populations, but also have regional variations — all humpbacks in the North Atlantic sing the same song in the same way, while humpbacks in the North Pacific have their own distinct song that they all sing. And more amazingly, the songs change over time and to date serve a purpose we don’t entirely understand.

We assume until we know more that they just like to sing (who doesn’t) and, like humans, produce pop music bangers that everyone shares via whale-based mix tapes. In any case, during his “The Late Show” opening monologue, Colbert talked about that humpback and joked about all the other places in New York that it checked out. And in a video posted on Twitter, he took the joke further by imagining that humpback singing the classic song “New York, New York” — in whale song, of course.

Check out that clip below:

And see some of the original footage of the whale here: